Here's How To Prove Your Vaccine Status Without A Paper Card

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
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The Delta variant is currently wreaking havoc on the United States, with the CDC reporting July 27, “The 7-day moving average of cases reached over 60,000. This case rate looked more like the rate of cases we had seen before the vaccine was widely available.” This is scary stuff. If we are going to beat this thing, we need to be safe. That means keeping those who are unvaccinated at bay. Sorry, but that is just where we are. If you don’t get the shot, you are not invited to the party.

But for those who have gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, here’s a thank you and a gold star. You are doing your part to help end the pandemic. And sooner or later, people are going to ask for proof. This has been a contentious subject among the vaccinated and unvaccinated for a myriad of reasons, but the fact of the matter is this: you don’t show proof, you don’t get to participate. And this practice is becoming, and will continue to become, more commonplace as time goes on.

So, now that you have been vaccinated, how can you prove it without carrying your card around all of the time? Physical card carrying can be risky; what if you lose it or it gets stolen? A lot of people just aren’t comfortable taking that risk, but thankfully, vaccine records are going digital. There are several apps on the market that can store your vaccination card. If you have received your vaccine at a Rite Aid, CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club, and a growing list of other pharmacies, your digital vaccine record is created for you automatically. But that’s just the start. Some cities and states are beginning to develop apps to help their residents keep vaccine records on them at all times.

This is a good idea for a lot of reasons. One, physical cards can be easily duplicated and faked. Second, restaurants, for example, will have a much easier time validating a vaccination record on a trusted app than scrutinizing a card to make sure it’s legitimate. And let’s be honest, it is pretty unlikely that you are leaving home without your phone. The second you notice it you’re going back, so a digital copy is almost guaranteed to be on your person at all times.

There are a host of other apps on the market that can keep your information handy in your smartphone while you are on the go. The Washington Post is reporting several options to help us keep our vaccine card with us in our smartphones. They have broken down the best apps to use and we are excited to share the details.

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The first step for your digital record keeping is taking a shot of your card and saving it on your phone. You can keep the photo in a private and secure album so that it is visible only to you and available when you need it. No need to share this pic with the world. As a matter of fact, sharing these images online is just helping shady people duplicate and fake cards, so just don’t do it.

There are also apps that allow you to scan your CDC vaccine card directly into the app. The Post looked into three: Clear, VaxYes, and Airside. There were pros and cons to each. A big pro — they all store your card for free. They also require an additional upload of your government-issued ID. It is nice to marry the two and help authenticate you. You do have to enter in some information manually like where and when you received the vaccine.

VaxYes creates a QR code that can easily be scanned, which is nice. Airside stores your information in an app that you can access to show, but nothing scannable. Clear uses your camera to verify your identity when logging in to easily identify you as someone who has created a fully-authenticated vaccine record in the app, rather than someone just scanning a card.

“All three have potential issues. Clear is the only service we tested that works just as well on Android phones as it does on iPhones. It’s hard to tell where the proof from these apps will be accepted. VaxYes, which says it has more than 1 million users, told us it’s focusing on states such as Kansas, Texas and South Carolina. And while Clear and Airside’s health passes should pass muster anywhere your paper card does, acceptance still depends on each destination,” the Post reported.

These apps are great, but the very best option in terms of duplicating an official CDC vaccine record is to use apps like CommonPass, Excelsior Pass, and Clear. These are 100% verified and can help if you lose your physical card. New York businesses are currently using Excelsior Pass and can simply pull up your information on the app to verify you. Clear and CommonPass can be used in conjunction with each other to confirm your information and allow you to share when you need to.

The Post said, “Most states and health-care providers have databases of who has received the vaccine. Increasingly they’re opening them up to citizens so they can download a digital record — a.k.a. one that can’t be easily faked.”

Moving toward proof of vaccination digitally is a nice goal, but right now, the kinks just haven’t been worked out. There is still potential for violating your privacy, having information stolen, and of course your device simply not working like it’s supposed to when you need it. While carrying a physical card isn’t ideal, it is still the best form of verification and if you know you are going to need that proof, just bring it along. It is better to be safe than sorry. You’ve done your part. You deserve the right to work and dine and enjoy life among those who are taking this pandemic seriously.

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